Rajkumar kidnap: The ‘perfect script’ that will remain a secret

Dr. Rajkumar speaking to the media after his release from captivity in November 2000.   | Photo Credit: File Photo

With a court in Gobichettipalayam in Erode, Tamil Nadu, on Tuesday acquitting all the nine persons accused in the abduction of legendary Kannada actor Rajkumar and three others by forest brigand Veerappan, the mystery surrounding the abduction and release is set to remain unresolved.

Dr. Rajkumar’s family not deposing before the court during the trial has been cited as one of the reasons for the acquittal.

The actor’s abduction was one of the most sensational hostage stories in history. In the first press conference after his release, after 108 days in captivity, the late Dr. Rajkumar had said that the whole episode appeared to him to be a “perfect script for a movie”. While Veerappan was killed in an encounter with the Special Task Force in 2004, Dr. Rajkumar passed away in 2006.

Dr. Rajkumar was abducted from his native place of Gajanur, a sleepy village in Tamil Nadu, when he was visiting to participate in a housewarming ceremony. The actor was abducted while his wife Parvathamma watched on helplessly. Veerappan also abducted his son-in-law Govindaraj, his relative Nagesh, and assistant film director Nagappa.

The three-month period of Dr. Rajkumar’s captivity was packed with high drama. There was an explosion of rage among the actor’s fans immediately after the abduction. This was followed by protracted negotiations between Veerappan and government emissaries, especially through Nakkeeran magazine editor R.R. Gopal.

SMK and MK

S.M. Krishna, who headed the Congress government at the time, expresses his gratitude to DMK supremo M. Karunanidhi, who died recently, in his autobiography, which is to be released shortly. The former Chief Minister acknowledges in the book that but for the cooperation that Karunanidhi offered as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, and the moral and strategic support that he extended, it would have been difficult to get Dr. Rajkumar released from captivity.

C. Dinakar, who headed the Karnataka police during the turbulent period, has also recorded his observation in his book, Veerappan’s Price Catch: Rajkumar. He recalls how Mr. Krishna had pulled him out in the dead of the night, along with the then Home Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, and broke the news. “There was no time for emotion. My mind buzzed with the possible outcomes of the crisis at hand. Mobs started reacting violently by early morning. It was a long ordeal before it all was resolved,” he writes in the book.

After the talks between Mr. Gopal and Veerappan failed, it was the sympathisers of the Tamil movement in Sri Lanka who played an important role in the safe release of Dr. Rajkumar. The details of these negotiations have remained a mystery.

Episode in films

Film-maker A.M.R. Ramesh’s multilingual film on Veerappan, Attahaasa, dealt with the abduction and release of Dr. Rajkumar. Suresh Oberoi essayed the role of Rajkumar in that. In Ram Gopal Varma’s Killing Veerappan, Dr. Rajkumar’s son Shivarajkumar essays the role of a policeman who avenges the abduction of Dr. Rajkumar. In this filmy take on the episode, Shivarajkumar takes the name of Rajkumar.

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Printable version | May 1, 2021 9:25:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/rajkumar-case-verdict-the-perfect-script-that-will-remain-a-secret/article25042510.ece

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